A children's advocate is raising concerns over Edmonton library internet access after the arrest of a man accused of viewing child pornography at a public library.

"There's got to be some kind of regulations or parameters on what people can do on public computers," said Glori Meldrum with Little Warriors, an organization involved with awareness, prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse. "Viewing child pornography is illegal. I'm all for public access to content -- but not illegal content."

On March 10, a man was arrested by ALERT's Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) team at his home in north Edmonton.

Police said the man was seen viewing child pornography at the Woodcroft library near Westmount on Feb. 19 when he was confronted by a staff member.

Staff called the police. The man fled before officers arrived. But with the assistance of the library, police tracked down the suspect through his digital identity.

Meldrum praised police and staff for the arrest but said library computers should have restrictions.

"If it was blocked there, people wouldn't go there to access it," she said, adding a child could accidentally pull up inappropriate content.

But Edmonton Public Library CEO  Pilar Martinez said mechanisms are already in place to prevent such activity.

"The computers are placed in open areas, and not in secluded areas, specifically for this reason so that either customers or staff have the opportunity to observe if there is illegal or inappropriate behavior and take action as a result," said Martinez.

She said all internet users must first agree not to access unsuitable content.

Martinez said filters are an ineffective tool that prevents "legal and good things from happening" and computers are not filtered to promote the philosophy around libraries of intellectual freedom.

"We want to be as open as possible," she said. "And to penalize the very small number of people who may be doing things that are inappropriate or illegal on our sites, for the vast majority of people who are doing things that are  perfectly appropriate, is not the approach that the library takes."

She said the library played a pivotal role in the apprehension of the suspect.

"I do think this is a good news story and illustrates the role that library staff can play in ensuring that illegal activities don't occur in our city," said Martinez.